Tag Archives: public health

Public health vs. the economy

It’s worth wondering out loud what I think can become a serious conflict among state and local leaders and the president of the United States.

Donald Trump says he is considering lifting the lid on Americans’ activity, to “reopen the economy” while a coronavirus pandemic is killing human beings all around the world.

In the meantime, governors and county officials across the land have imposed shelter in place rules, or have shut down their states and counties. Why? They are motivated by a desire to keep people apart, to enforce “social distancing.”

The governors and other local folks are placing the public health at the top of their priority list. Donald Trump appears to be placing the economy at the top of his list. The president said that a floundering economy will cost even more lives than the pandemic, that people will “commit suicide” by “the thousands” as their nest eggs are smashed to smithereens. Really, Mr. President? That is what passes for your “logic” on this matter?

My goodness. The president, to borrow a phrase my late mother used to say, is “nuttier than a fruitcake.” 

He’s also dangerous.

My hope would be that governors that have shut their states down would ignore the president’s idiotic rant about the economy. That they would listen to their own medical advisers. That they would continue to place the public health ahead of the economy.

My strongest hope yet, indeed, would be that those governors who are well-known supporters of Donald Trump would stand firm against the moronic rants of the president.

That would be you, Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

Americans love freedom, but …

A growing battle over mandatory vaccinations for public school children is turning into a culture war of sorts.

Libertarian-leaning Republicans suggest that requiring vaccinations against communicable diseases impinges on parental rights to choose whether their children should be vaccinated. The main medical enemy is measles.


Have those who contend the issue is choice actually considered some of the consequences of their request for greater latitude on this matter?

The Washington Post editorial takes aim at U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and Gov. Chris Christie, R-N.J., for their irresponsible comments regarding vaccinations.

They both should know better than to mutter what they’ve said about the subject.

Especially, Dr. Paul, an ophthalmologist by training. As a medical doctor, he ought to be acutely sensitive to the value of vaccines as guardians of the public health. But he isn’t. He’s instead a politician pandering to one of the bases of his party in his budding quest to win the Republican Party nomination for president of the United States in 2016.

As the Post opined: “Both the governor and senator seem to be suggesting that it is fine for parents to avoid vaccinations for their children. But is this really a matter of individual rights? Liberty does not confer the right to endanger others — whether at a school or Disneyland or anywhere else.”

Measles cases are on the increase, endangering children and those who come in contact with them. Protecting the public health ought to be one of those areas where government involvement shouldn’t be challenged.

Sadly, it is being challenged by politicians who should know better.


Now it's vaccines that divide the parties


It’s official. There is no limit at all to the categories of issues that divide Republicans and Democrats.

The issue today is childhood vaccines. Yep. Believe it. Republicans are now raising the issue of whether parents deserve some choice in whether their to vaccinate their children against diseases deemed infectious and a hazard to public health.


At no time rearing our two now-grown sons did my wife and I ever — not a single time — wonder whether we should forgo a mandatory childhood vaccine in order to, say, enroll our boys in public school. Yes, the issue has percolated for decades, but in our household we never got all hot and bothered over whether the school system where our kids would enroll required such vaccines.

But here we go. A presidential campaign is just around the corner and one of the potential GOP candidates, Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., is making an issue of the vaccines.

Likely Democratic candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton posted a tweet that lays it out clearly: “The science is clear: The earth is round, the sky is blue, and . Let’s protect all our kids.”

Goodness, gracious. The vaccines protect our children against some serious infectious diseases. You’ve heard of how measles can cause blindness; chicken pox produces lifelong cells that lead to shingles later in life; mumps, pertussis and all manner of fevers can be fatal.

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, another Republican thinking of running for president, walked back a statement in which he said parents should have the choice.

The vaccine issue flares up from time to time — kind of like a toddler’s fever. How about icing this one down and recognize the value that mandatory vaccines bring in protecting our children and inoculating the public against these serious diseases?


Ebola has not arrived

We can stop making Ebola quips, jokes and puns now.

For several hours this afternoon and evening, thousands of Amarillo-area residents were on the edge of their seats awaiting word about a patient who had checked into the emergency room at one of the city’s two acute-care hospitals.

The word went out that the ER at Baptist-St. Anthony’s Hospital had locked down. Why? Medical personnel thought they might be treating someone who had shown symptoms of the deadly disease that is originating in West Africa.


It’s been confirmed that the patient does not have Ebola, nor had even been in Africa.

The lockdown has been lifted; ER personnel have been allowed to leave. The patient, I presume, is going to recover fully from whatever it is that caused all the uproar.

These stories tend to drive me just a tiny bit insane. My first reaction when I heard the news was unkind toward the TV stations that were blabbing that someone exhibiting Ebola-like symptoms had shown up at BSA. “If this story is bogus and doesn’t pan out, the stations should be ashamed,” I blurted out to someone at work.

Then my more cautious angel began whispering into my ear. “Yes, but the ER was locked down and that, by itself, is news,” the angel told me. “The media had an obligation to explain the reason for the lockdown,” the angel said.

OK, I get it now. I’m a media guy myself and I understand the rules of the game.

We’d better prepare ourselves for more of this type of mini-hysteria until someone finds a way to stop this disease’s deadly path of destruction.

I’m guessing there’ll be more of these kinds of cases.

So let’s stop cracking wise about Ebola. None of it is funny.